2/28/2019 2:54:00 PM Nine area wrestlers to shine on the biggest stage
All nine wrestlers who qualified for the state tournament from CL and NB celebrate together (Photo by Danielle Bleymeyer)
Both the Vikings and the Wildcats fared well at last weekend’s Section 4AA individual tourney at South St. Paul. Nine wrestlers – five Vikings and four Wildcats – are headed to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul for this weekend’s state wrestling tournament. Viking freshman Brandt Bombard (126) decisioned freshman Maverick Whitehorn of South St. Paul 4-2 in overtime to become section champ. Wildcat junior Connor Bleymeyer (220) pinned junior Ryan Prisch of St Paul Humboldt-Open World Learning to win the section championship. And, in the premier matchup of the weekend, Viking senior Brandon Swanson – ranked ninth in the state – pinned Wildcat senior Zach Carlson – ranked tenth in the state – to win the section championship. Carlson did not have to wrestle a True Second match and will also go to state. Finishing second and also earning a spot in the state tournament are Vikings Josh Logan (sophomore, 132), Austin Sonnek (junior, 145) and Trevor Anderson (senior, 152), and Wildcats Andrew Novack (eighth grader, 106) and Isaiah Sistrunk (senior, 182). And one more individual won an award – Viking assistant coach Kyle Kahl was voted the Section 4AA Assistant Coach of the Year by the head coaches in the section.
Swanson (285), seeded number one in the section, opened with a pin of junior Ian Spiegelberg of St. Croix Lutheran in just 48 seconds in the semifinals to earn his spot in the final. Meanwhile, Carlson pinned sophomore Colin Duquette of St. Paul Highland Park at 1:49 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Carlson and senior Elijah Heatherston of Mahtomedi each got an escape and were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation. 30 seconds into the first overtime, Carlson got a takedown near the edge of the mat for two points and a 3-1 sudden victory win. In the championship match, Swanson had two takedowns in the first period and led 4-2. He was up 6-3 when he pinned Carlson at 2:59 to win the section championship. Heatherston won his third-place match, so that meant there was no True Second match and Carlson was also in the state tournament.
Bombard (126) opened with a 4-1 semifinal win over sophomore Owen Chow of Mahtomedi. In the championship match, Whitehorn got a reversal with 30 seconds left in the second period to go up 2-0. Bombard got a takedown with 33 seconds left in the third period to tie it at 2-2. At the end of the first overtime, Whitehorn completed a takedown and was initially awarded the win. But the two referees discussed it and decided that the takedown had been completed after the buzzer went off, so they waved off the takedown and the match went to the next set of overtime periods. (two 30 second periods, non-sudden death). In the second overtime, Bombard was awarded a stalling point and then got an escape to win 4-2 and became the section champion, heading to the state tournament for the second year in a row.
Bleymeyer dominated the tournament at 220, pinning all three of his opponents in a total of 3:09. He opened with a quarterfinal pin of junior Cesar Ramirez-Ponce of St. Paul Highland Park in just 22 seconds. In the semifinal, it only took Bleymeyer 1:20 to pin freshman Tony Kammerer of Mahtomedi. And Bleymeyer completed the day by pinning Prisch in 1:27 to win the section championship. Vikings Second Place Finishers Logan (132) lost his semifinal match to the eventual section champion, senior Jake Fitzpatrick of Mahtomedi. After pinning Mu Ku Shi of St. Paul Como Park at 1:49 in their third-place match, Logan went up against junior Soni Soukchaleon in the True Second match. It was a close back and forth match, but Logan was able to build a five-point lead. Soukchaleon took Logan down near the end, but it didn’t lead to anything else. Logan won 9-6 and was headed to the state tournament. Kahl said “Josh wrestled really tough. He got progressively got better and better as the tourney went on.”
Sonnek (145) took just 47 seconds to pin junior Will Attman of St. Paul Highland Park in their semifinal match. In the championship match against sophomore Ian Wilsey of Mahtomedi, Sonnek got an early takedown, followed by a quick reversal by Wilsey. Wilsey pinned Sonnek late in the first period, and there was some question if the pin was before time ran out or not. The referees decided the pin had come in time, giving Wilsey the win. In the True Second match, Sonnek pinned junior James Johnson of South St. Paul at 2:26 to earn a spot at state. Kahl said “Austin didn’t stick to basics in the championship match, where he was out of position and trying to do too much. In the True Second match, he stuck to basics and that helped him pull out the win.”
Anderson (152) opened with a semifinal pin of freshman Nixon Stroud of South St. Paul in 2:21. In the championship match, junior Reid Lawrence of Mahtomedi nearly pinned Anderson twice in the first period before finally completing the pin at 1:57, sending Anderson to the True Second match against sophomore Kaelys Sears of St. Paul Como Park. Anderson methodically built up a big lead against Sears and won 13-6, punching his ticket to the state tournament for the first time as a senior. Kahl said “That is one of the best tourneys Trevor ever wrestled. He peaked at the right time. He couldn’t have asked for a better end to his senior year. He really wrestled the way he needed to in order to win.” Wildcat Second Place Finishers Novack (106) pinned Zach Wendel of North Branch in 3:44 in their semifinal match. In the championship match against Maxx Beeler of South St. Paul, Beeler went up 4-1 after two periods and won 6-2 to claim the section championship. In his True Second match against Lewis Pieper of Mahtomedi, Novack got an early takedown and pinned Pieper at 38 seconds, and Novack was on his way to the state tournament.
At 182, it was the last chance to go to the state tournament for seniors Sistrunk and Isaac Maki of North Branch. Sistrunk pinned his quarterfinal opponent, Nay Soe Kmaw of St. Paul Washington Technology Magnet School. He also pinned his semifinal opponent, Caleb Binman of South St. Paul, at 4:37 to earn a spot in the championship match against Hunter Hall of Mahtomedi. With the score 0-0 at the end of one period, Hall chose down in the second period. He got an escape to go up 1-0 and, after a lot of begging by the Mahtomedi coaches, was awarded a stalling point to go up 2-0 at the end of two. Sistrunk got an escape in the third period, but lost 2-1. Meanwhile, Maki took the long route to the True Second match. He pinned Tou Yang of St. Paul Johnson in 53 seconds in the quarterfinals, lost to Hall by a 5-2 decision in the semifinals, pinned Hser Ku Htoo of St Paul Humboldt-Open World Learning in 1:22 in the wrestlebacks and, in the third-place match, Maki pinned Binman at 2:28 to earn a spot in the True Second match against Sistrunk. Maki led 2-1 late in the match before Sistrunk got a takedown with 40 seconds left in the match to go up 3-2. Maki got an escape with 20 seconds left to tie it at 3-3. In overtime, Sistrunk got close to a couple of takedowns before finally getting around behind Maki for a takedown with about 10 seconds left for a 5-3 sudden victory. Sistrunk had earned a spot in the state tournament for the first time, and Maki came up just short. Kahl said “Isaac was happy to finish where he did, It’s the best he has wrestled all year and he peaked at the right time.”
Others – Wildcats Nolan Huffman (138) beat Jorge Garcia of South St. Paul 3-0 in the third-place match. Trailing 6-5 to Stone Frasl of St. Paul Como Park in the True Second match, Huffman couldn’t quite complete a takedown with 17 seconds left in the match and ended up in third. Wildcat head coach Shawn Frederixon said “To get to that point, Nolan had to beat Garcia, who had beaten him earlier in the tournament. He put himself in a nice spot getting to True Second. It was really fun to see him progress like that.”
Austin Siefert (160) has a similar experience. In the wrestlebacks, he beat Sam Sonnek of North Branch 3-1. In his third-place match, he beat Kaleb Barnes of St. Paul 5-2. Barnes had pinned Siefert earlier in the tournament. In the True Second match, Siefert was pinned at 3:06 by Tyler Gustafson of St. Paul Johnson, who went to state last year. Frederixon said “Austin went out there and had a great day. He beat Sam Sonnek, a young tough kid from North Branch and he beat a kid who had beaten him earlier in the tournament, which was a nice turnaround.” Others - Vikings It was somewhat of a surprise that Ashton Labelle (120) didn’t qualify for the state tournament. After winning his quarterfinal match against Mara Chai of St Paul Humboldt-Open World Learning by pin in 1:05, LaBelle lost to Roman Cortez of South St. Paul by a last second pin in the semifinals. LaBelle dominated Lue Yang of South St. Paul in the third-place match, winning 12-0. But because Cortez lost the championship match, there was no True Second match and LaBelle was left on the outside looking in. Kahl said “It’s crazy that one of our best wrestlers didn’t qualify. He will use it as motivation to get ready for next year.”
State Tournament Info The Class AA first round matches are schedule to take place this Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Subsequent matches Chisago Lakes and North Branch wrestlers depend on the first-round results. A few of the wrestlers have a legitimate shot at the podium. If you can’t make it to the Xcel Energy Center this weekend, you can follow the results at trackwresling.com.